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2012 Buick Verano

$6,133 — $14,153 USED
Sedan
5 Seats
26 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 3 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Upscale interior for its price
  • Little road and wind noise
  • Responsive automatic transmission
  • Trunk space
  • Smartphone-friendly multimedia system

The Bad

  • Unremarkable gas mileage
  • Clumsy handling
  • Sightlines
  • Backseat room
  • Busy center controls
2012 Buick Verano exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2012 Buick Verano
  • New compact sedan for 2012
  • 180-hp four-cylinder
  • Standard six-speed automatic
  • Related to Chevrolet Cruze

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2012 Buick Verano.

by Kelsey Mays -

Despite its commuter-car roots, the 2012 Buick Verano drives and feels more like a luxury car, which makes its starting price all the more attractive.

Parent company GM sunk big cash into developing the smash-hit Chevrolet Cruze, but wringing a Buick from the same platform seemed dubious. A Toyota Corolla with leather, after all, does not a Lexus make. But here's the difference: To begin with, the Cruze is no Corolla; this Buick is no Chevy clone, and GM's latest whack at the below-$30,000 luxury piñata could pay off.

The front-drive Verano sedan comes in Base, Convenience and Leather trims, with the Base trim level's price overlapping Chevrolet's top-of-the-line Cruze LTZ. An automatic transmission and four-cylinder engine are standard. We tested a well-equipped Verano Leather.

Compact Dimensions
The Verano measures a smidge larger than the Cruze, with which it shares the same wheelbase. The Buick's footprint falls between the shrink-wrapped Lexus IS 250 and larger Acura TSX, but its styling feels more anonymous than either. I found the nose too stubby, the tail forgettable and the whole of it laced with too much chrome. It's not bad, but neither is it as compelling as the larger Buick LaCrosse.

You can see the Cruze in its profile, but the Verano isn't a rebadge job. Buick cues abound: a waterfall grille, blue headlight tint and fake hood louvers. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard, and the whole of it looks sufficiently differe...

by Kelsey Mays -

Despite its commuter-car roots, the 2012 Buick Verano drives and feels more like a luxury car, which makes its starting price all the more attractive.

Parent company GM sunk big cash into developing the smash-hit Chevrolet Cruze, but wringing a Buick from the same platform seemed dubious. A Toyota Corolla with leather, after all, does not a Lexus make. But here's the difference: To begin with, the Cruze is no Corolla; this Buick is no Chevy clone, and GM's latest whack at the below-$30,000 luxury piñata could pay off.

The front-drive Verano sedan comes in Base, Convenience and Leather trims, with the Base trim level's price overlapping Chevrolet's top-of-the-line Cruze LTZ. An automatic transmission and four-cylinder engine are standard. We tested a well-equipped Verano Leather.

Compact Dimensions
The Verano measures a smidge larger than the Cruze, with which it shares the same wheelbase. The Buick's footprint falls between the shrink-wrapped Lexus IS 250 and larger Acura TSX, but its styling feels more anonymous than either. I found the nose too stubby, the tail forgettable and the whole of it laced with too much chrome. It's not bad, but neither is it as compelling as the larger Buick LaCrosse.

You can see the Cruze in its profile, but the Verano isn't a rebadge job. Buick cues abound: a waterfall grille, blue headlight tint and fake hood louvers. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard, and the whole of it looks sufficiently different. Casual onlookers won't invoke its Chevrolet sibling, but you can compare the two here.

The Inside
Where it counts, the Verano's interior feels plush — somewhere between a compact and a luxury car, but closer to the latter. Similar money could get a well-equipped Cruze or Mazda3. The Buick is richer than both. Its doors shut with a suitable thunk, and amid city gridlock and elevated trains, the insulation impresses. You can talk without raising your voice as a garbage truck barrels by. Padded materials line the doors and dash, fabric runs down the A-pillars — a luxury-car touch — and the faux-metal trim has an upscale brushed finish.

The Buick's budget-luxury proposition shows through in a few rickety center controls and some plainer backseat trim, but the car's price should help shoppers overlook that. So will its space. The front seats should accommodate the lankiest drivers. At 5-foot-11, I drove with the seat a few inches forward, and the height-adjustment range goes on forever. A six-way power driver's seat is optional, but Buick should add a power passenger seat — a common feature among luxury cars. Harder to fix will be the Verano's sightlines: Large side windows and mirrors illuminate what's around you, but the short windshield and tiny rearview mirror limit things ahead and behind.

Buick's IntelliLink multimedia system, a cousin to Chevrolet's MyLink system, compares to similar systems from Ford and Toyota. Standard on the Verano, it can stream internet radio from smartphone applications like Pandora and Stitcher to the stereo and display supporting information on the 7-inch touch-screen. Controls below the screen are harder to sort through than the Cruze's buttons, but they're easier to navigate than the gaggle of knobs in the Buick Regal.

Like most premium small cars, the Verano's backseat is modest. Headroom is livable, but legroom is tight. Consign any adults to the back, and they may try to negotiate an inch or two from you. Trunk volume in the Verano is a decent 14.3 cubic feet. It drops to 14.0 cubic feet with the Bose stereo, which intrudes on trunk space. A 60/40-split backseat is standard, and it carries the center seat belt with it when it folds — a convenience often found in European cars. It keeps you from having to maneuver large cargo around a belt that's hanging off the rear shelf.

Driving
The front-wheel-drive Verano gets a larger four-cylinder than the Cruze. It's normally aspirated, as opposed to the Cruze's available turbocharged four-cylinder, but it makes for smooth starts and enough passing power. The standard six-speed automatic kicks down readily on the highway, arriving at the right gear with little hunting. It's a decent cornering partner, too, downshifting readily to get you back up to speed. Armed with the right gear at the right time, the Verano makes the most of its 180 horsepower. GM hasn't had the most responsive six-speed automatics, and it's good to see the latest generation — installed across many of its 2012 models — improve on that. Should you want more power, hold your horses: GM will offer a turbocharged four-cylinder down the road.

The Verano will need more than a power bump to be fun, though. The linear brakes and sharp steering show promise, but throw the Verano into a corner and its nose-heavy balance and precipitous body roll will have you dialing back the antics. Most Verano drivers will keep to straight-line stop-and-go, I suspect, where the car fares better. The front-drive TSX feels similarly mushy at the limits. Driving enthusiasts should look elsewhere.

The Verano rides as well as the Cruze — no slouch itself. The suspension reduces expansion joints and potholes to distant clunks, and it isolates the cabin well on the highway. EPA gas mileage with the four-cylinder is a modest 21/32 mpg city/highway, but the Verano runs on regular unleaded. So do comparable compacts — most of which beat the Verano by a few mpg — but luxury cars like the TSX and IS want premium and lose a few mpg, too.

Safety, Features & Styling
With top crash-test scores across the board, the Verano is a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Standard features include 10 airbags, plus the antilock brakes and electronic stability system required on all new vehicles starting with the 2012 model year. Click here for a full feature list. Being a new car, the Verano doesn't have a reliability trail, but the year-old Cruze does and it stinks. Overall reliability is well below average. GM has work to do.

The Verano starts around $22,500, overlapping the well-equipped Cruze LTZ but undercutting the TSX, C30 and A3 by $2,300 or more. Standard features include dual-zone climate control, faux leather upholstery and a touch-screen, iPod/USB-compatible stereo with Buick's IntelliLink system. Climb the trims and you can get keyless access with push-button start, heated front seats, a power driver's seat, genuine leather, a navigation system and a moonroof. A power passenger seat, however, is unavailable.

Loaded to the gunwales, the Verano tops out around $29,000. That's still short of the base TSX.

Verano in the Market
The path to entry-luxury success is littered with Infiniti G20s, BMW 318s and Mercedes C230 hatchbacks. But automakers persist. Mercedes will bring the next A-Class here, and Audi has plans for a revamped A3. You can hardly blame GM for bringing us a Buick version of the Cruze, especially given the Buick's differences. Holes in the automotive landscape reveal untapped opportunities — or simply no demand. Time will tell what Buick found.

Send Kelsey an email  


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.6
34 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Best car to own

by Mamabear23boyz from Maine on October 11, 2018

This car has met all my needs. I had always had a minivan or SUV as I had 3 small boys. Now I have one at home and a grand baby. This is the best driving car ever. My 16 yo and my grandson who is 10 ... Read full review

(5.0)

The sportiest car I have owned

by Bthomas from Moore's hill ,in on July 30, 2018

Pleased with the engine , and the cockpit,18 inch sporty wheels, the new style trans, power every thing, no problems scorching up hill , fabric in the center of the seats. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2012 Buick Verano currently has 3 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Buick Verano Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Buick

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 100,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)

  • Powertrain

    6 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    172-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2012 Verano Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Verano received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker